Judge Blocks Texas Attempt to Defund Planned Parenthood, Calls State's Case a Work of Fiction

Judge Blocks Texas Attempt to Defund Planned Parenthood, Calls State's Case a Work of Fiction
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After months of back-and-forth in court, a federal judge has officially overruled Texas' plan to pull Planned Parenthood from the state's Medicaid plan. In his Tuesday decision, U.S. District Judge Sam Sparks called the state's arguments to block thousands of Texans from accessing affordable reproductive health care could be the building blocks of a "best-selling novel."

"Yet, rather than a villain plotting to take over the world, the subject of this case is the State of Texas's efforts to expel a group of health care providers from a social health care program for families and individuals with limited
resources," Sparks wrote.

In short, the state's case was a work of fiction. That's largely because Texas' opposition to Planned Parenthood was rooted in "facts" uncovered in a series of anti-abortion activist videos that have long been debunked. These 2015 videos, which featured conversations with Planned Parenthood doctors edited to make viewers believe the clinic had been selling fetal tissue, have been the core evidence in anti-abortion legislation across the country — despite every state that investigated these claims (a total of 12) and Congress having cleared Planned Parenthood of any wrongdoing.

Because of this, Smith writes, the state has no real reason to boot Planned Parenthood, a qualified health care provide, from Medicaid.

"Such action would deprive Medicaid patients of their statutory right to obtain health care from their chosen qualified provider," he writes.

"The deprivation of that right is an irreparable injury in and of itself but could also disrupt the care of the 12,500 Texas Medicaid patients receiving services from Planned Parenthood."

Unlike his past temporarily rulings, which put a hold on the state's plan, Smith's Tuesday injunction has no expiration date. However, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has already made clear his intent to appeal the decision, still clinging to video's "proof" that Planned Parenthood "traffic[s] in fetal body parts."

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